Ellis Island: An Inter­ac­tive His­to­ry Adventure

Michael Bur­gan
  • Review
By – February 13, 2014

The famous pho­to­graph of an immi­grant fam­i­ly on the deck of a ship look­ing at the Stat­ue of Lib­er­ty dec­o­rates the cov­er of Ellis Island: An Inter­ac­tive His­to­ry Adven­ture. That one icon­ic image of the anony­mous and hope­ful immi­grants sym­bol­izes the big pic­ture of the mass Euro­pean immi­gra­tion. With­in are the diverse expe­ri­ences of three dif­fer­ent young immi­grants who passed through the Ellis Island immi­grant pro­cess­ing cen­ter, which is now a muse­um of the immi­gra­tion expe­ri­ence. In each sec­tion read­ers can decide, Ency­lo­pe­dia Brown-style, what choic­es the immi­grants should make at var­i­ous cross­roads and then see the con­se­quences of each decision.

The chap­ter Trip to Amer­i­ca” speaks direct­ly to the read­er and gets straight to the point.

You ask your moth­er why Jews are forced to live in this region and can’t trav­el freely in Russia.

Because the Rus­sians hate us,” she replies. They think we take busi­ness away from them. They think Jews are evil. That’s why your father left for Amer­i­ca. Soon we will too.”

The Russ­ian Jew­ish girl is forced to make dif- ficult and grown up deci­sions at every turn as fam­i­ly mem­bers are injured, become sea­sick and are faced with new reg­u­la­tions that may restrict their entry to the Unit­ed States.

Black and white his­tor­i­cal pho­tographs graph­i­cal­ly depict what life was actu­al­ly like back in those days here and in the old coun­try. A chap­ter on Ellis Island today and back mat­ter includ­ing a time­line of immi­gra­tion his­to­ry pro­vide rich resources in this pithy and descrip­tive book.

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